Rome, Open City (1945)

Directed by Roberto Rossellini this Italian neorealist film depicts the harsh realities of life in Rome during WWII during Nazi occupation. We are given an inside look at the bravery and everyday lives of these people. We become familiar with a fugitive engineer and resistance leader. He gains assistance from a kindly and collected priest who also runs a church. Their stories intertwine with a widowed woman who is just about to be remarried, a beautiful girlfriend, and a Gestapo office who is intent on stopping the resistance. After one tragic event everything continues on a downward spiral. The fugitive Manfredi and the priest, are both betrayed. Don Pietro must look on as the other man is brutally tortured to the point of death. Next, the Gestapo try to use the priest’s own beliefs against him and yet he will not yield either. He too then faces a fate just as horrible. This film at times was brutally realistic and it is perhaps one of the most moving films I have seen. We do not normally think of the struggles of Italians during WWII since Mussolini was allied with Hitler, however much like the French or even Germans, they faced tremendous danger and hardship. Furthermore, it humanized the Italians in my mind a great deal. This is the first film of the war trilogy that I have seen and now I want to see the other two. As you can see I’m still a little fuzzy on my Italian history and I would love to learn more.

5/5 Stars

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